How To Have The Best Northern Lights Experience in Greenland

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Greenland is one of the most remote and least explored territories in the world. Its area is larger than those of France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Italy, Greece, Switzerland and Belgium combined, and around 80% of that is permanently covered in ice.

With two-thirds of it lying within the Arctic Circle, Greenland provides some of the best opportunities for seeing the aurora borealis in unique surroundings. If seeing the northern lights is on your bucket list, this may well be the perfect destination for you.

Planning your Greenland adventure

Timing is crucial when it comes to seeing the northern lights. As it’s a natural phenomenon, it can’t be guaranteed. However, you can improve your chances by booking an adventure holiday in Greenland at the best time of year.

If you want to avoid the coldest weather, head to the south of the island in late summer or early autumn as that’s where night will arrive earliest. You won’t have to venture out into the middle of nowhere either, as you can even see the aurora from the streets of the capital of Nuuk.

North Greenland will be best in the deep of winter, while you’ll be better off heading east when spring rolls around.

Maximising your viewing experience

First things first, you’ll need to be ready for a long night. There’s no guarantee when the ethereal show the northern lights put on will start, so you’ll want to be somewhere you can stay comfortably until the small hours of the morning. And it goes without saying that you’ll need to have plenty of layers on so you can stay as warm as possible.

It’s also a good idea to try to time your trip for when there isn’t a full moon, as the light reflecting from it can reduce the aurora’s visibility.

Make sure you know how to set your camera up so that it can produce the best photographs in the circumstances. Get a tripod and familiarise yourself with long-exposure shooting before you go away to ensure you feel comfortable and your pictures do the display justice.

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Safety and sustainability

Less than 100km2 of Greenland’s total area of 2,166,000km2 is populated, so you should ensure you have a GPS device that can alert the relevant authorities in the event of an accident. Always inform someone else of where you’re going beforehand too.

There are around 2,000 polar bears along the west coast. While you’re unlikely to come across one while hiking, it’s useful to know what to do when faced with one just in case.

For a sustainable trip, make sure you’re travelling with a reputable provider and aim to leave everywhere you go exactly as you found it. That’s often the best way to ensure you leave a minimal impact.

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